Although the forthcoming S20 family and foldable Z Flip are absorbing all the press coverage right now, there are other important phones set to star in Samsung’s 2020 roster.
Key changes will be introduced to the Samsung Galaxy A, the Korean phone maker’s mid-range offering and biggest selling line.
What is the Samsung Galaxy A line?
Samsung previously offered the budget Galaxy J tier and mid-range A series, but merged the two lines in 2019.
It then launched a bouquet of some seven Galaxy A devices ranging from R1299 to R11 999 in price.
This month, however, the company’s pushing updated versions of these devices with “1” suffixes.
The first two additions to its 2020 revamp arrive as the Galaxy A51 and A71.
Samsung Galaxy A51: the A50 replacement
The phone borrows a few design cues from the Note 10. The rear camera housing is more of a rectangle than a line, while the display ditches the notch for the central punch-hole camera. You’ll see a lot more of these design cues in future Samsungs.
The display’s also slightly bigger too, at 6.5-inches, while the Exynos 9611 chipset is also a minor upgrade over the 9610.
6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage remains the best RAM and storage spec.
Where the A51 does improve over the A50 is the rear camera array.
It now houses a 48MP primary snapper, a 12MP ultrawide, a 5MP telephoto lens that doubles as a macro camera, and a 5MP depth sensor. Up front, there’s a 32MP camera. The A50 had three rear cameras — a 32MP, 8MP and 5MP — and a 25MP selfie snapper.
That’s where the big changes end though. Battery size is identical, the headphone jack is also thankfully retained, but the phone does gain a pink and the Note 10-like “prism” colour schemes.
Samsung Galaxy A71: the A70 replacement
Like the A51, the Galaxy A71 receives big camera upgrades compared to its predecessor.
It swaps the A70’s 32MP primary sensor for a 64MP unit. Its ultrawide lens is now mated to a 12MP instead of an 8MP. The 5MP depth sensor is retained, while a 5MP macro sensor is a new addition.
Samsung’s also upgraded the silicon. The A70 arrived with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675, while the A71 receives the Snapdragon 730. This also means a beefier GPU too so gaming performance should be improved too.
Beyond that, the other changes are purely aesthetic.
What of the other Galaxy A phones?
On Friday, Dutch site GalaxyClub revealed details of the A41 and A31, two potential additions to the range in South Africa.
Although they haven’t yet launched in any market, the A31 is said to sport a 48MP primary camera, a 5MP macro camera, and a much larger battery of 5000mAh. That would be a sizeable 1000mAh improvement over the A30.
The Galaxy A41 meanwhile could also feature a 48MP primary sensor, but other camera and internal details are less certain.
Will these launch in South Africa?
Samsung will host a media event in Johannesburg later this week, during which it will likely announce its Galaxy A plans for South Africa.
As for pricing, we can hedge our bets based on previous RRPs.
The Galaxy A50 launched at R6999 while the A70 was priced at R1000 more. It’s unlikely Samsung will retain these prices, so expect the A51 and A71 to come in slightly higher. As for the A31, the A30 was priced at R4499.
The A40 never made it to South Africa, and it’s not clear that its successor will either.
Feature image: a composite of the Galaxy A71, by Samsung/Memeburn